• Divider
  • Divider
  • Divider
  • Divider
  • Divider

Fenway construction getting Bruins' players excited

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

"I saw some of it last year on TV, what they did in Chicago, but that would be fun. They need a lot of guys for a lot of work to be done there, so it would be interesting to see how it all gets done."
-- Tuukka Rask

BOSTON -- When and if time permits, Boston defenseman Derek Morris wouldn't mind taking a trip to the west side of the city -- Kenmore Square in particular -- so he could stroll into Fenway Park and see firsthand what the fuss is all about.
"Oh, absolutely," Morris told NHL.com Thursday morning from TD Garden.
NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his staff of roughly 200 started construction for the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Thursday morning, while a slap shot away at TD Garden, the Bruins prepared for their game against Toronto.
The Winter Classic was a central topic of conversation inside the Bruins' dressing room because of what Craig and his crew had started building just a few miles away and just a few hours earlier in the day.
"I think we take that part of it for granted, the work people have to put into that in order to make it happen and what it takes to get that ice there," Morris said. "We're going to take it for granted because we can't worry about it, but it would be amazing to go over there and see it. Maybe we will catch a day here to sneak over there and take a look."
Next week would seem like a good time for Morris and any interested teammates to get a tour. The Bruins play Monday against Philadelphia, the same team they'll play Jan. 1, and then not again until Friday in Chicago, which starts a three-game road trip.
"I saw some of it last year on TV, what they did in Chicago, but that would be fun," goalie Tuukka Rask said. "They need a lot of guys for a lot of work to be done there, so it would be interesting to see how it all gets done."
Privately, the Bruins are getting all jacked up for the Winter Classic. But right now they really can't come out and say the game is on the forefront of their minds, not with 10 games between now and New Year's Day, including Thursday night's tilt against Phil Kessel and the Leafs. However, just by chatting with a few of the players wearing black and gold, you get a sense that they are enamored with the hype for the Winter Classic and can't wait for 2009 to turn into 2010.
Blake Wheeler, a Minnesota native, said the Winter Classic popped into his head as he popped out of bed Wednesday morning and saw a blanket of snow on the ground.
"When it was a blizzard outside, I thought about it," Wheeler said. "It's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be a great experience to be field level at Fenway, first and foremost. Then, to be able to skate around and say you played a game in Fenway will be an experience of a lifetime. All of us played hockey outdoors (as kids) and I think we're all excited to have the opportunity to play before 40,000 at Fenway Park."
Asked for to describe the vision in his head of what the Winter Classic will be like, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said he doesn't even have one.
It's impossible.
"I know it's going to be really busy and I know it's going to be very special, but until you experience it you can't dream about it or imagine it," Chara told NHL.com. "I'm sure it's going to be a lot more than you would ever think it's going to be. I'm sure it's going to be really loud and being outdoors it will feel kind of weird.
"When I talked to people that already played some Winter Classics they say once you step on the ice it feels like the ice is so much bigger because there are no stands right there. It's wide open, so it feels a lot bigger than it is."
Morris gets excited watching the Winter Classic commercial that's airing on television as well as on NHL.com (link to: http://www.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?&id=53400). He hopes the League finds more and more outlets for it so "they ramp 'em up and get even more people excited coming down the stretch.
"We'll be busy and we're trying to keep it out of our mind, but the closer it gets the more we'll talk about it."
Rask uttered similar sentiments, saying with nine games left after Thursday's clash against the Leafs it would be wrong for the Bruins to focus on one regular-season game that won't take place until three weeks from now.
Still, that one regular-season game is on his mind. It's on everyone's mind.
If it wasn't, why would they want to go over to Fenway to look at a construction site?
"I think it makes the time go faster when you see they are getting ready for it," Rask said.
Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com.